Kursi National Park


Coordinates: 32°49′33.91″N 35°39′1.36″E / 32.8260861°N 35.6503778°E / 32.8260861; 35.6503778Coordinates: 32°49′33.91″N 35°39′1.36″E / 32.8260861°N 35.6503778°E / 32.8260861; 35.6503778

Kursi (Byzantine Greek Κυρσοί) is the ruins of a Byzantine Christian monastery and now an Israeli national park located in the Israel-occupied Golan Heights.

The site is located east of the Sea of Galilee on the bank of a river bed descending from the Golan Heights. It is significant to many Christians and Jews because it has been identified by tradition as the site where Jesus healed two men possessed by demons (Matthew 8: 28–33). The ruins of the monastery were first unearthed by road construction crews, and the major excavation took place between 1971 and 1974 run by the greek archeologist Vassilios Tzaferis for the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The monastery is surrounded by a rectangular stone wall measuring 120 X 140. The entrance facing the Sea of Galilee was guarded by a watchtower, and a paved road led down to a harbor where Christian boats could berth. Inside the wall the 45 X 25m church is made of a mosaic floor courtyard surrounded by pillars with pictures of animals (chickens, geese, doves, cormorants, and fish), parts of which were vandalized, as well as pictures of plants such as citrons, dates, pomegranates, and grapes. The monastery was occupied during the Mishnaic and Talmudic periods. In the 8th century the site was damaged by an earthquake and abandoned.

Christian artifacts from Kursi can be viewed at the Golan Archaeological Museum.

See also

External links

  • Israel Nature and Parks Authority


  • "Archaeological Sites in Israel" – Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • "Kursi National Park" – Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority
  • "Kursi Excavation Project 2001" – The Bible and Interpretation website
  • Geobiology in Israel / Richard Benishai site geobiology.co.il
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